ESPN's Stephen A. Smith defends Rockets' Ime Udoka following spar with LeBron James

Houston Rockets v Denver Nuggets
Houston Rockets v Denver Nuggets / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

Late in the second half of Saturday night's game between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers, Rockets coach Ime Udoka and Lakers star LeBron got into a bit of a dust-up. Udoka and James had been jawing at each other for an extended period of time and the nearby official had determined that enough was enough.

Udoka was given his second technical foul and was ejected from the game, while James was also given a technical.

Less than 24 hours after the game, audio from the skirmish was leaked showing Udoka urging James and the Lakers players to stop pouting and complaining about foul calls or the lack thereof (which is a polite way of putting it, I know).

James was put off by Udoka's choice of words and confronted him. 

The discourse following the game was less about the game itself and more about Udoka and LeBron, with fans and basketball observers weighing in from all angles.

ESPN' Stephen A. Smith took to first take to defend Udoka and the Rockets.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith sides with Rockets' Ime Udoka.

"We'll, first of all, I'm pretty ticked off that Ime Udoka got ejected. If you're the referee, why don't you call the game. Mind your damn business. What are they gonna do, get into a fight?

Let them talk. What's the big deal? That's part of the theater of sport. Do we have too all sing kumbaya and hug one another?

It was ridiculous. There was no cause for that ejection. Secondly, LeBron walked over to him. And I have no problem with Udoka basically saying to stop b-tching."

Smith addressed Udoka referring to James as a "soft a- boy", pointing out that James had confronted Udoka and the Rockets coach was simply standing up for himself. 

During Udoka's postgame presser, he stated that his frustration was primarily with the Rockets, as he felt they were getting bullied and outmuscled by the Lakers.

Udoka echoed those same sentiments on Monday.

The two teams face off again on January 29th.